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5 SEO Tips for Optimizing PDF Documents

Many of our manufacturing clients have websites loaded with PDFs to share product literature, technical information, articles, and manuals. These documents can be the cream of the crop from an SEO standpoint if you know what you’re doing. To ensure search engines can index and rank your PDFs, here are 5 SEO tips to make them even more accessible:

  1. Content is King - Whether it’s a standard web page or PDF, your content needs to incorporate keywords important to your business. Take a quick glance at any PDF you use on your site and ask yourself these questions: Have you done your best at incorporating keywords within the content? Does your title contain those keyword phrases? If not, fix it.
  2. Save your PDF with keyword rich file names - This means no more naming your files with your internal product codes like PE984098.pdf. It just won’t cut it these days. Take the extra time to use a keyword rich file name like 5-SEO-tips-for-PDFs.pdf. The search engines use filenames as a signal, so use it. 
  3. Your PDFs should start from text based documents - Even with search engines using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), it’s much easier for search engines to scan text-based documents. Unless you have no other choice, it’s recommended to keep these documents text-based so that the search engines don’t have to work too hard to read, interpret and rank your information, especially when other text-based PDFs competing for position on similar keywords might already exist in the search results.
  4. Complete the document properties - Simply open up any PDF document, click on File/Properties/then Description and complete the fields. Be sure to use your keywords to help the search engines learn what the PDF is about.
  5. Include your URL in the header or footer of your optimized PDF - There’s nothing worse that clicking on a PDF from the search results and having nowhere to navigate. 

SEO is all about execution. Follow these 5 SEO tips for optimizing PDFs and you’re more likely to be rewarded.   

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